Your eyesight is an integral part of your everyday life. But the eyes are sensitive and can be affected by more things than you realize—like how much sugar you consume. If your blood sugar is too high, you’re at a higher risk of developing several eye conditions.
Quitting sugar won’t fix your eyesight—at least, not in the traditional sense. But it will help lower your risk of developing conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetes. Plus, it has plenty of benefits for your overall health. You don’t have to cut out sugar from your diet completely; simply cutting back can make a difference.
How Does Sugar Affect Eyesight?
Sugar, especially when consumed in large amounts, can take a toll on your body over time. When your blood sugar levels surge, it can cause your blood vessels to dilate or expand. If you regularly have high blood sugar, these levels can damage blood vessels all over your body.
Your eyes are susceptible to high blood sugar. They have tiny blood vessels that carry nutrients and oxygen to and from the eye, which are vulnerable to change. When you regularly have high blood sugar, these blood vessels can become inflamed.
While eating too much sugar won’t cause your vision to get worse suddenly, it does increase your risk of developing certain eye conditions. Regular periods of high blood sugar are associated with diabetes, a condition where your body either:
- Attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leaving your body unable to make enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. This is known as type 1 diabetes.
- Doesn’t produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to insulin’s effects. This is type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can cause a range of health-related complications, but it’s also known for causing a condition known as diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic Retinopathy: What Is It?
Diabetic retinopathy damages the delicate blood vessels in the eyes. They can start to leak fluids, causing vision troubles. Sometimes, new blood vessels grow in the eye, causing further complications.
Diabetic retinopathy affects roughly 1/3 of people with diabetes, and it’s a leading cause of blindness in adults all over the world.
It often causes:
- Blurred and fluctuating vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- An increase in floaters
- Vision loss
- Reduced color vision
Diabetic retinopathy isn’t reversible. Once you start to lose vision, it doesn’t come back. This makes it crucial to regulate your blood sugar levels—or take steps to lower your risk of developing this condition.
How High Blood Sugar Damages Eyesight
If your blood sugar is consistently high, you’re at a higher risk of developing other vision problems:
- Cataracts are more likely to develop as sugars build up in the eye’s lens. Cataracts cloud the eye’s natural lenses and often cause difficulty distinguishing colors. They also often cause blurry or foggy zones in your vision.
- Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. If you regularly have high blood sugar, the blood vessels in the eye can expand and contribute to this damage, leading to permanent vision loss.
- Retinal detachment occurs when the retina physically detaches from the back of the eye. It can be caused by weak blood vessels resulting from high blood sugar.
Does Your Vision Get Better When You Quit Sugar?
If you stop consuming sugar, it won’t improve your eyesight—at least, not in the traditional sense. Instead, reducing the amount of sugar you eat can help lower your risk of developing eye-related complications caused by high blood sugar levels, which may preserve your vision in the long run.
Quitting sugar is just one piece of the puzzle—regular eye exams and a healthy lifestyle are also crucial to maintaining good vision.
So, while it may not directly improve your vision, reducing your sugar consumption can have positive effects on your overall health.
The Benefits of Quitting Sugar
Sugar can cause inflammation, which can damage the sensitive areas of your body. It isn’t just your eyes that can benefit from quitting or consuming less sugar. Quitting sugar can:
- Improve your heart health
- Lower your blood pressure
- Boost your mood and energy levels
- Strengthen the immune system
- Promote better dental health
You don’t even need to quit it entirely. Even just cutting back a little can improve your overall health!
The Importance of Maintaining Your Eye Health
Your eyes are your windows to the world, so taking care of them is important. It’s always a good idea to regularly schedule comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist so they can monitor how healthy your eyes are.
If you have any concerns about your eyes, visit us at Hercules Optometric Group. Our team is here for you, so book an appointment with us today!